Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Percocet Abuse

Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Percocet Abuse

Last Updated: October 26, 2022

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Percocet is a pain medication belonging to the opioid family that is often abused. Taking Percocet for pain can be an effective way to manage symptoms, but non-prescribed or recreational use can come with serious risks.

There are many side effects to using Percocet that must be considered because there is a risk of developing a Percocet addiction. Addiction can happen regardless of whether Percocet is prescribed or used recreationally. Learning the risks and side effects of taking Percocet can encourage the safe use of Percocet or help you find help if you need it.

Article Overview

  • Percocet can be abused by people with or without a prescription
  • Rates of abuse and addiction to opioids like Percocet have increased in the United States
  • Short- and long-term side effects of Percocet abuse can include mood changes, drowsiness, organ failure or death
  • There are many types of treatment available to support recovery from Percocet addiction

How is Percocet Abused?

Percocet is often abused for it’s relaxing or pain-relieving effects. Many people use it to get high. Percocet abuse can occur when the drug is taken without a prescription, taken more frequently or taken in higher doses than what is recommended.

People who misuse Percocet might take it in tablet form or might crush or dissolve a tablet to snort, smoke or inject. People might take Percocet to increase the high from other drugs or to avoid symptoms of withdrawal if they are dependent on a substance.

Why Do People Abuse Percocet?

People abuse Percocet for different reasons. Chronic pain is a major reason for taking Percocet. Some people misuse Percocet to manage severe pain. Other reasons why people abuse Percocet can be to get high or to manage symptoms of other mental health conditions, like depression or insomnia.

Abuse of Percocet can also be a result of physical dependence and addiction. Once the body is dependent on Percocet, it is hard to stop taking the drug. The body begins to rely on Percocet to function normally and requires higher doses to achieve the same effect.

Percocet Abuse Statistics

Drugs containing opioids are widely prescribed to manage ongoing pain. Although it can be beneficial for those who need it, it is often inappropriately used. Percocet abuse statistics show that millions of Americans use prescription drugs without a prescription. In 2013, over one-third of overdose deaths were linked to prescription opioids. Additional statistics include:

  • Prevalence in Men: Rates of opioid abuse or dependence are reported as 1.6 times more likely in men compared to women.
  • Prevalence in Women: Although rates of abuse and dependence are lower among women than men, women were less likely to seek treatment.
  • Teen Abuse: Alongside increases in rates of prescription opioids, rates of opioid abuse among teens has increased in the United States.
  • Senior Abuse: Rates of chronic pain are often higher among seniors, and rates of prescription drug abuse are high among this demographic.

Rates of opioid prescriptions in Ohio are high, and In 2017, Ohio had the second-highest rate of opioid-related overdose death in the country.

How Addictive is Percocet?

Percocet can be addictive, whether it’s used for a medical reason or used recreationally. When used for a long time, Percocet can change the chemistry of the brain. This change can lead to a decrease in chemicals like endorphins that help produce positive feelings and reduce pain. When the change happens, a higher dose of the drug is required to produce the same positive feelings.

Opioid-containing drugs are highly addictive, but there’s no way to predict how long it takes to get addicted to Percocet. You can become addicted to Percocet after short-term use, depending on other risk factors like genetics or abuse of other substances.

Percocet Side Effects – Short Term

Percocet is effective in treating pain when it is taken as prescribed, but it can also have several side effects. When someone first starts taking Percocet, they might notice changes in the way they feel as their body adjusts to the new drug. This shift can include both physical and behavioral side effects.

  • Physical Side Effects: Physical side effects can include nausea, headaches or dizziness
  • Behavioral Side Effects: Behavioral side effects might include extreme emotions, poor coordination or insomnia

Some of these side effects may subside as the body adjusts to Percocet and tolerance develops.

Percocet Side Effects – Long Term

The chances of long-term Percocet side effects are increased if the drug is abused. Long-term abuse of Percocet is linked with serious damage to organs and an increased risk of overdose and death.

  • Physical Side Effects: Consequences can include dependence, tolerance and kidney or liver damage.
  • Behavioral Side Effects: As the chances of addiction and dependence increase with long-term use, behavioral side effects can include drug-seeking behavior and loss of function related to drug abuse.

These long-term side effects can impact health and a person’s ability to live normally, even after recovery from addiction.

Percocet Overdose Symptoms

The signs of Percocet overdose are serious and medical help should be contacted immediately. If someone has taken too much Percocet, they might appear lethargic or “out of it” and may or may not be responsive. Some of the signs of Percocet overdose include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Cardiac arrest

The risks of Percocet overdose are serious and can cause death. Anyone suspected of overdosing on Percocet will require urgent medical attention. The risk of overdose can also be increased if you are using other drugs or taking Percocet in combination with alcohol.

How to Address Percocet Addiction

For those struggling with addiction, getting off Percocet can be a lengthy and challenging process. However, there are many Percocet addiction treatment options available that can facilitate recovery.

Treatment for Percocet addiction will often start with detoxing, which is the process of Percocet completely leaving the system. The recovery process can also include various types of individual or group therapy. Therapy focuses on building skills and strategies that help people cope with addiction and recovery.

Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to speak with a representative about how professional addiction treatment can help you address your Percocet addiction alongside any co-occurring mental health disorders. You deserve a healthier future, call today.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.